Meme bonding

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Sun Jan 27 2002 - 05:08:39 GMT

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    Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 00:08:39 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: Meme bonding
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    Has anyone written about "meme" bonding? That is: what causes memes
    to join together to form larger memeplexes? Why don't we just have
    billions of separate memes floating around in our brains?

    I could see memes being joined temporally - you were exposed to them
    at the same time. This could even be listening to a song while you
    read a book or watch something on TV.

    They might be joined by subject - encountering a meme and filing it
    under biology. This also leads, conversely, to separation of memes,
    since once an idea is filed under one subject it is less likely to
    join memes filed under another subject.

    Then there is a meme like "meme" itself, which serves to break down
    distinctions between different fields of knowledge (biology and
    social sciences). It seems to be based on pattern recognition (?)
    If the pattern is pervasive enough then it encourages the bonding
    together of larger groups of memes. It's almost like this is an
    organizational meme, it changes how we organize our memes, and
    creates larger memeplexes by reshuffling them. It also encourages
    recombination by bringing memes into contact which were segregated

    Some memes we segregate because they are unpalatable (like racism).
    I read the following in Science News in 1999. "White college
    students who endorse racial tolerance nonetheless tend to react more
    angrily to a mild provocation after seeing pictures of young, black
    males flashed on a screen. Each image appeared for a fraction of a
    second, too short for conscious perusal. The unintentional adoption
    of stereotype-related feelings of hostility and fear intensified
    antagonist responses (the researcher) assets". To me this suggests a
    sort of "Ragu" theory of memes. Whatever we have been exposed to,
    "It's in there." Although we may not let it out to play with the
    other memes, it can still influence our behavior.

    Other memes we segregate by believing or not believing in them. They
    are all inside our minds somewhere. Freud conceptualized belief as
    the amount of energy we invested in a concept. Things that we
    experience - like a pet dog - are invested with more energy and
    attachment than things we only read about, but know are real - like a
    lion. Things we know are *not* real (like monsters under the bed)
    still exist in our mind, but they are not invested with energy at
    all. Other models of realness and unrealness conceptualize a sort of
    filter that sorts out the real from the unreal. This filter is not
    well-developed in young children which is why they are afraid of
    monsters under the bed. In addition, fear often compromises the
    effectiveness of that filter. So if you want to sell someone
    something that you know is a total line of Hooey, scare them first.
    Incidentally, a child's ability to sort objects into different
    classes is also the beginning of being able to differentiate what is
    real and what is not. Is this ability an indicator of being able to
    combine and recombine memetic content a la our earlier speculations
    about when memetic behavior first occurs?

    If this has all been done before somewhere, then kindly point me in
    the direction of the appropriate book and I will stop my rambling.


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